Last time out I mentioned I was going to see Simone Felice at St Giles in the Thingummy church, round the back of the Centrepoint building in London. Very good it was too. Simone can be a little mannered, and sometimes seems to be trying a bit too hard to be bohemian, but there is no denying his qualities as a songwriter and performer. His singing was great, and when he drummed it was like a young Levon Helm (the beard may have helped).
This was the first time I have seen Simone live. I have seen his fellow Americana Renaissance Man, Tom Russell, play countless times, and intend to see him play countless times more. Tom is touring in the UK and Ireland this month, and you should really try to get along.
I would particularly encourage you to go to see him at the Wild Hare Club in Hereford on 24 July. It is run by Richard, Friend of Leggies; between him and Tom you are guaranteed a good night. And if you are thinking Hereford is a bit far to go for a gig, why not use it as an excuse to take a couple of days off and explore Herefordshire? It's a lovely part of the world.
Here is one apiece from Simone and Tom. If you were to drive from Palenville, New York (where Simone was born) to Tom's home town of LA, roughly half way you would pass through Lincoln, Nebraska - home of Matthew Sweet. Which is an extremely contrived way of justifying the inclusion of today's last selection. It is really there because it is one of my favourite pop songs.
"Stormy-Eyed Sarah" - Simone Felice
"Purgatory Road" - Tom Russell
"Sick Of Myself" - Mathew Sweet
Simone Felice closed his scheduled set with a fantastic sing-along, freak-out version of Neil Young's "Helpless". Now, do we know any other Neil Young cover versions that worked really well?
That'll be a "no", then.